Cabler racing to put post-merger NBC U plan into place
As the pieces start to fall into place on the post-merger Comcast/NBC Universal exec structure, some sort of an announcement could come as soon as next week.According to multiple insiders, Comcast brass are well aware that a wave of uncertainty has gripped NBC U in recent weeks. That’s why the merger’s transition team is racing to finalize deals and announce the new setup before Thanksgiving. Some sources believe that at least part of the new structure — specifically, the cable side — could be revealed soon. Cable may go first because, despite all the intense speculation over the fates of NBC U Cable Entertainment prexy Bonnie Hammer and NBC U Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks topper Lauren Zalaznick, word is now spreading that both execs will essentially keep status quo — and perhaps now report to new CEO Steve Burke. Meanwhile, Comcast Entertainment Group prexy-CEO Ted Harbert will likely remain in a position similar to the one he has now. It’s uncertain if he would report to Hammer, Zalaznick or another entity. Also still a possibility: some channel oversight shifting. G4 may fit well with Syfy, while Style and Oxygen have similar target auds, for example. Meanwhile, on the broadcast side, a deal with former Showtime Entertainment prexy Bob Greenblatt remains close but is not yet finalized — and may not be ready for announcement for another week or two. What does this mean for NBC U TV chief Jeff Gaspin, who remains well-respected inside NBC Universal? According to insiders, one option being floated around is a job similar to the one once held by former NBC U TV prexy Randy Falco (and, in the 1990s, by former NBC Television Network prexy Neil Braun), who had oversight of departments such as affiliate relations, cable distribution, business development, information technology, network and studio operations and worldwide television distribution, among others. It’s believed that Comcast execs would like to find a way to keep Gaspin at the company — but whether that role is big enough to satisfy him remains to be seen. NBC U declined to comment.